Why Do Babies Grasp Your Finger When You Place It On Their Hands?

Have you noticed this reflex from babies? When you reach a finger to them, the first thing they will do (even when they still have their eyes closed) is to grasp! This has been observed on both human and chimp babies! Babies grasp things that are close to their hands to survive!

It’s called the Palmar Grasp Reflex. You did it when you were a baby. But what you didn’t know is that it’s a vestigial instinct from our primate ancestors. Evolution, baby! Vestigial, or vestige, means a “track” of something that was once useful, but is no longer needed, like a foot print.

Why Babies Grasp Things

Now, babies grasp anything that comes near them because our primate ancestors needed to secure themselves to their parents by grasping on their parent’s body, which is covered with hair!

  • Imagine a startled primate with a child; there’s a predator nearby
  • In order to escape with its child, it needs to rely on its baby’s strong grip on its body (which, over the course of evolution, still remains to human babies up to six months of age)
  • The primate can then easily run and climb trees without worrying about its child, because it’s automatically clung to its body!

Isn’t that cute? There’s a little monkey inside of us!

Image Source | Palmar Grasp Reflex: One, Two

Rean John Uehara

Rean is a writer and editor of 1stwebdesigner. He regularly writes about freelancing, technology, web design, and web development. Check out what he's currently up to at reanjohnuehara.com!

Comments

  1. Keegan Flick-Parker says

    Ugh, you go in to such detail to explain the evolution of this feature – yet you still say “there’s a little monkey inside of us” – as if we are descended from monkeys… which is just WRONG!

    • Cilie Markussen says

      We are descended from monkeys. We are an evolution of Homosapiens, which evolved from monkeys. We ARE actually monkeys. Hairless ones, that is. It’s said that the monkey-specie we are closest to in relation is the Orangutang.

      • Joshua Misel says

        no, we didn’t evolve form monkeys… we evolved from the ancestors of moneys, which is why are so similar

      • Leonard Carter says

        Actually, I think everybody is missing the point. We are evolved from apes, not monkeys. Monkeys and apes have a common ancestor. They are not the same thing, though, just similar. Monkeys have tails, apes do not.

  2. Joshua Misel says

    this is a simple case of misunderstanding, we didn’t evolve form monkeys… what they mean by “there’s a little bit of monkey in us” is that we share a vestigal trait with our primate cousins, we are descendant from the ancestors of monkey’s that’s how evolution works…

  3. Royal X Uy says

    uhg. About we coming from or descended from monkeys…it actually only like a ‘theory’ of Charles Darwin. And its still not proven yet because some other religions believe about God creating us…and about the ‘theres a little monkey inside of us’ they don’t literally mean it. Just like some of you said that are close ancestors are monkeys…so they are just comparing us to them but that doesn’t mean that there is a little monkey inside of us but please don’t say it’s just so wrong because actually scientists have researched it…if you say it’s wrong then can you prove it? Are you a researcher or a scientist with a degree? [No offense though] just debating…Uhg. Evolution is taught in grade school. Everyone who studied hard in grade school or even in highschool should know that its only a theory and theory still needs to be proven…

    • Leonard Carter says

      You can’t prove a theory. That’s why theories are constantly changing, to bring new evidence into the scientific model. Evolution is the best explanation for how species change over time, and how new species are created. Faith is the absence of theory and critical thinking. Belief in something when there is no evidence whatsoever is not a theory. Anyway, it’s been conclusively proven that our genes are very similar, which points back to a common ancestor. Just wanting to believe that we are somehow ‘better’ than all the other animals is silly.

  4. เกรียนเทพ ดี อันลิมิเตด says

    Human evolved from tree, this is my theory.

    • Leonard Carter says

      I think I evolved from lightning striking a mountain which created a landslide triggering a massive tsunami. And awesome.

  5. gilberto velazquez r says

    Evolution is not a theory, it’s a FACT, and we still calling it just like that becuase of habits. After all We do still calling “heliocentric theory” something that is a fact, don’t we?

  6. Meliodas says

    you lots been tricked.. those babies grasp things because of Bl0w job reflex meaning your son is a gay or a pure girl.. meaing they love d!cks see babies do love to put things on there mouth and sometimes sucks it.. that explains it. it’s not because they have a little monkey inside of them, it is because there’s a perverts blood gushing through there veins. blame the parents not the monkeys.. ][_ {[ ]} ][_ !!!

  7. Nanatsu No Taizai says

    you lots been tricked.. those babies grasp things because of Bl0w job
    reflex meaning your son is a gay or a pure girl.. meaing they love
    d!cks see babies do love to put things on there mouth and sometimes
    sucks it.. that explains it. it’s not because they have a little monkey inside of them, it is because there’s a perverts blood gushing through there veins. blame the parents not the monkeys.. ][_ {[ ]} ][_ !!!

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